The City of Montreal and the Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA) have launched a new program aimed at boosting the recycling efforts of its residents. Specifically targeting the material polystyrene foam, the CPIA and Montreal are looking to divert excess waste from area landfills in favor of responsible disposal through recycling. Polystyrene foam is often mistakenly referred to Styrofoam®, which is a registered trademark of the Dow Chemical Company. The material makes up several forms of the single-use foodservice products consumers prefer, such as hot beverage cups and take-away food containers.
Residents of Montreal will now be able to bring their used polystyrene foam material to the city’s Écocentre LaSalle recycling center. At this location, each discarded piece of foam will be compressed and processed so that it can be used in the production of brand new products. The new material can be used to make picture frames, coat hangers, flower pots, crown molding and many other items. According to Paul Aucoin, a membership director at the CPIA, part of the issue with getting residents to recycle polystyrene foam is that many do not realize that it is, indeed, recyclable.
Aucoin states, “Contrary to some preconceived ideas, polystyrene is 100 [percent] recyclable… By bringing their postconsumer polystyrene products to the Écocentre LaSalle, Montrealers, and especially those who will be moving over the next few weeks, will be doing the responsible thing by diverting this material from the landfill sites and consequently allowing its recycling.” This pilot program is currently in progress and will run through September 30 of this year. Several other provinces within Canada, including Ontario, British Columbia and Nova Scotia, have successful city recycling programs in place.
Ensuring that polystyrene foam is responsibly disposed of is an effort also being made throughout the U.S. Several cities and organizations have partnered to bring awareness and implement programs meant to decrease the amount of foam sent to landfills and create new manufacturing opportunities. One such company doing their part for this issue is Dart Container Corporation, a Michigan-based manufacturer of foam products. Dart has developed initiatives such as the CARE (Cups Are REcyclable) program, which specifically promotes the recycling of single-use foam cups within individual organizations. The CARE program provides participants with their own device to compress foam.